Dow Automotive's innovative approach for bonding in hybrid front-end systems has officially gone into production with the launch of the new Volkswagen Polo. The Polo's new front end is an important aspect of this new model, and Dow's contribution was significant. Working together, Dow and VW developed a solution that not only reduced weight, but at the same time met all requirements for part rigidity and cost requirements. Weight reduction was achieved on 25 percent or 1.5 kg per part in comparison to other solutions. The prototype for this part - first presented in 2002 and based on the Golf IV front end carrier - already displayed many of the features present on the new Polo front end: a combination of long glass fibre reinforced (LGF) polypropylene bonded with low-energy substrate adhesive (LESA) to metal parts. Unlike more traditional hybrid solutions, this design incorporates a closed box section not possible with the traditional overmoulding technique, enabling maximum stiffness with minimum weight. By using BETAMATE LESA technology, materials with low surface energies, such as polypropylene, can be bonded to dissimilar substrates without the use of pre-treatment. In addition, Dow Automotive's hybrid solution also provides the flexibility to implement design changes late in the product development phase, resulting in lower tooling costs.
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